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Open Inspections Versus Private Inspections When Selling Your Property


One of the most important marketing tools that a seller has at his or her disposal is a property inspection. These can make or break a buyer’s decision, and are a vital part of the sales process. It can seem like a daunting task to basically invite strangers to come take a wander through your home. To get a better idea of the space and finer details of a property, buyers may open up cupboards, drawers, and other intimate areas of your daily life. This can be intimidating to sellers, to say the least.

It’s important to remember that there are two types of property inspections. You can arrange to have open inspections or offer private tours of your property when selling your home. Both of these offer numerous benefits but may have different consequences depending on how the inspection process is managed. It’s very helpful to have a qualified real estate agent on your side as you start planning for either open or private inspections, because they will best know how to manage buyer expectations. Register now at LocalAgentFinder and start comparing local real estate agents to find the right fit to help you with this important task. In the meantime, it’s helpful to read more about the advantages and disadvantages of both types of inspections.

Advantages of Open Inspections

Open inspections used to be considered a mandatory part of selling any property, but are now not quite as common as they used to be. In an open inspection, a specific time and date is set for potentially buyers to drop by and walk through the property for a viewing. This event is publicly advertised, so that interested buyers and their real estate agents can plan ahead for it and arrive with questions. One of the major advantages to an open inspection is that it opens up your property to the widest possible range of buyers. This may include several types of buyers:

  • Those who live in the same neighbourhood and are interested in buying
  • Individuals who may be thinking about buying in the future but are not interested in the commitment of a private inspection
  • Buyers who are not yet sure what they’re looking for but are willing to view a variety of properties to find out

The latter two types of buyers may not take the initiative to arrange a private inspection at this point in their property search, so you can only reach out to them with an open inspection. To try and maximise the volume of attendees at an open inspection, they are usually held on weekends.

In terms of practicality, open inspections offer the ability to show a large number of prospective buyers through the home at the same time, rather than arranging separate tour dates.

Disadvantages of Open Inspections

The downside to this type of open event is that it opens up your doors to anyone who wishes to come through. Although it’s not common, there have been cases of property going missing or being damaged during open inspections. As a safety precaution, you’ll want to lock up any valuables before an inspection and keep at least two other people with you or your agent during this time. Many agents require that visitors show their ID and record their name and phone number in a visitor book at the point of entry. This serves two purposes: not only can you deter shady individuals, but you can go back and contact interested buyers.

More than any potential security issues, the main disadvantage associated with an open inspection is that it doesn’t give the opportunity for a face-to-face chat with each prospective buyer. When there’s a large crowd in the home, it’s difficult for your agent to have a personal chat with each and every purchaser. Although the agent will do his or her best to speak to buyers and qualify the ones who are serious, some buyers may fall through the cracks. It’s a good idea to choose an agent who is knowledgeable about your local area. You can compare and select the right agent to handle open inspections at LocalAgentFinder, which is a free, no-obligation way to receive agent proposals. The right real estate agent will talk up the positives of your property in a personal way with each buyer when possible, giving more specific information than what they would find in a brochure.

Another issue that may arise is that when a crowd is too large, it can put off some shy buyers. It will be difficult for them to ask questions, and they may not have as much time to spend examining the finer details of the home as they would like. Buyers may also be put off if they hear negative remarks from other visitors. The reverse can be true if too few people show off. This can make the buyers who do show up think that there is something wrong with the property. Finally, some visitors will simply be nosy neighbours or buyers who are less than serious. They may even be local homeowners who are visiting to check out their competition! This can make the open inspection a waste of time and money.

Advantages of a Private Inspection

These are just a few reasons why private inspections are slowly becoming more popular than open inspections. In the case of private inspections, buyers can be screened ahead of time to ensure that they are serious and trustworthy. The buyer will often have to meet financial screening requirements before they can arrange a private tour, to prove that they can afford your property. This also is beneficial to the buyer, who will have plenty of time to ask questions and build a rapport with your estate agent.

Private inspections run on a more flexible schedule. If there is bad weather or something comes up at the last minute, the tour can be rescheduled for another day. By contrast, open inspections are advertised to a wide audience, making cancellation impossible. You may find yourself sitting in an empty home as a consequence on bad weather days.

Disadvantages of Private Inspections

In some cases, sellers will get lucky and find an interested buyer after only a couple of private inspections. However, as time goes on you may have to arrange more of these. They can be time-consuming and invasive. It’s usually best to schedule private inspections on weekdays when your real estate agent is free to show the home, or you may have to pay an extra surcharge for weekend showings. Although it may seem like limiting your inspections to weekdays will cut down on the number of buyers, this will weed out those who are less than serious.

In the end, it’s best to choose an inspection method that best suits your needs. Some real estate agents may wish to push for an open inspection, because this requires less time on their part. If this is not what you want, be firm and find an agent who will offer private inspections. Bear in mind that agents have busy schedules and will be trying to sell other homes as well as your own, so open inspections may be more beneficial for them. Open inspections provide them a steady stream of new potential clients, because most people who are interested in buying also have a property that they need to sell. Be sure to put your needs before the convenience of your real estate agent. Choose open inspections if they are more convenient for you, rather than something you have been pressured into by your agent.

What’s next?

You can find an agent who is willing to work with your particular schedule and respond to your needs by comparing options at LocalAgentFinder. There are thousands of agents registered with this portal, ensuring that you’ll find a good fit. Find out more about how it works and start preparing your home for a successful inspection process.

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